A new study says tourism in Morgan County continues to grow. The study, commissioned by Visit Morgan County, says visitor spending totaled $23 million in 2015, which is a more than 5 percent increase over the previous year.
The study from Pennsylvania-based Rockport Analytics says the visitor spending in 2015 supported 426 jobs and more than $9 million local wages and proprietor income. It also generated more than $5 million in state and local taxes.
"We all know recreation is a popular reason for visitors to be in the area, with Morgan-Monroe State Forest and various county and city parks, but these attractions are often free and so would not affect the numbers much in this particular study," said Tosha Daugherty, director of Visit Morgan County. "What these numbers do tell us is more people visiting the area are paying for recreational and entertainment opportunities, such as horseback riding at Grandpa Jeff’s in Morgantown or tickets to a play at The Depot Theatre in Martinsville."
The report says 42 percent of all visitor spending was in food and beverage purchases, followed by retail spending at 29 percent, transportation at 13 percent, lodging at 9 percent and recreation and entertainment at 7 percent. The numbers show tourism is the 11th largest industry in the county, excluding government.
You can view the full economic impact study below: